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In Spirit

posted by awelborn

Asia News has various WYD stories, mostly from the perspective of those from, naturally, Asia.

It also runs a story about a gathering in Mosul:

Dear friends, yesterday evening we had a big celebration in Mosul: A spiritual pilgrimage  to Cologne- Germany. This was a meeting to be united spiritually with the  400 thousands young people who travelled from different countries to meet the  Holy Father. We were united with them spiritually, through the One Universal  Church that has no boundaries.

About 400 young people mainly from the Chaldean churches of St Paul, Holy Spirit,  and St Meskinta, participated in this event which took place in Holy Spirit  Church.

And, from the AP, an account of a Baghdad gathering:

More than 1,000 Roman Catholic youths gathered in Baghdad to celebrate World Youth Day and ask for the pontiff’s blessing "at this most difficult time for our country," the Vatican said Saturday.

Pope Benedict XVI, who is in Germany for the Catholic youth festival, received the Iraqi youths’ message "with joy and commotion," the Vatican said.


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posted August 20, 2005 at 11:48 am

I love the fact that Pope Benedict is causing a joyful COMMOTION acknowledging the Catholics kids in Iraq. Wonder what that looks like, a Papal commotion. Must be a great thing to witness, coming from the likes of Benedict. Needless to say, he’s causing another joyful commotion in Germany right now. Nice to have such a wild man of a Pope!

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Alia's Musings

posted August 20, 2005 at 12:20 pm

Present at WYD in Spirit

As the World Youth Day celebrations continue in Cologne, Germany, I read these stories (via Open Book) about youth, unable to attend WYD because of visa requirements and security issues, who held gatherings in their own country to show their unity in…

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posted August 20, 2005 at 1:52 pm

Somebody’s using Babelfish….

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posted August 20, 2005 at 1:58 pm

A college professor recently told me that when the media (at least) goes to translate something, they start by running it through Babelfish and then fix what Babelfish got wrong. Apparently it’s faster than translating it all “by hand.”

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Juan Pilgrim

posted August 20, 2005 at 2:01 pm

Yeah, commotion! NO mistake there.

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posted August 20, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Folks, Something you should take a look at:
Got that via The Political Theory Daily Review blog, at
Yes, it’s a bit disturbing, but I think it’s worth reading and thinking about.
Folks, can I make a confession? (No, NOT *that* kind of confession.)
I was at a Mass at WYD in Manila back in 1995; not close enough to see JPII, but did hear him (loudspeakers and all that!)–first time ever at a Papal event (and so far only time).
It was a beautiful Mass–but still, I did have a bit of an undercurrent uneasiness throughout the whole thing–and this German sociologist all but reflects that uneasiness; no, I don’t recall thinking about Goethe or anything like that (never read the author), but I did note the…resemblance to…well, Third Reich and Iron Curtain stuff. I kinda felt bad thinking about this–and during a Mass no less–but, well, it sorta popped-up.
Anyway, you folks, and Ms. Welborn,would just like to know what you think about that.
PS: “Reluctant Penitent,” with your permissiom, I’d like to continue one on one about this Evangelical social impact thing, and Rwanda as well, if you won’t mind. I’m a bit disappointed about your reply, you didn’t really address… my concern… but the blog’s moved on, so, if you won’t mind…

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posted August 20, 2005 at 4:12 pm

So mass gatherings have nothing to do with simple ol’ Jesus of Nazareth?
Anybody remember the five thousand?
Howsabout “After this I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people and tongue, standing before the throne of the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands, and they cried out with a loud voice, ‘Who saves but our God who sits on the throne and the Lamb?’
All the angels were around the throne, the elders and the four living creatures; they then bowed before the throne with their faces to the ground to worship God. They said, “Amen. Praise, glory, wisdom, thanks, honor, power and strength to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
The truth of the matter is not that World Youth Day is like the Nuremberg rallies; it’s that the Nuremberg rallies were trying to be like one of the great German church festivals, with Hitler in the place of Jesus Christ.
As my mother said, when I described the candlelight vigil at Marienfeld, “We used to do that over at Immaculate. The whole school would walk down the street carrying candles. That’s the German way.”
(Btw, my mom also remembered that many of the German priests’ lace albs (or surplices or whatever they are) were made by their mothers, grandmothers, aunts or sisters as a present. Sometimes they bought the lace and sewed it up, but often they would also make the lace themselves. She thinks the Pope may still be the right vintage for that.)

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posted August 20, 2005 at 4:21 pm

Are you saying that you felt the 1995 Papal event in Manila was like the Nuremberg Rallies of 1930’s Germany ? Each is/was a mass gathering of like-minded people, but I think Hitler’s aim was to whip up the fury of the German people and to deaden their consciences to the slaughter which he wanted them to perpetrate for the Reich. I don’t think the pope – either JPII or B16 – is/was trying to incite Catholics to take out their fury on non-Catholics.

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posted August 20, 2005 at 4:36 pm

You know, the Nazis used to eat three times a day. And they probably bathed. Maybe they even brushed their teeth. Read the newspapers. Took walks. Taught their dogs to sit and stay. Called their mothers from time to time.
Thanks for bringing these dangers to my attention. I’m certainly going to worry and feel guilty from now on because no matter what I do, if I’m Catholic, it’s crypto-Nazism. Yes, I see it now.

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posted August 20, 2005 at 5:01 pm

giga-appeals to the emotions and unbridled expression of feelings
Doesn’t sound like Pope Benedict at all.

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Mark Shea

posted August 20, 2005 at 5:50 pm

When I look at John Paul and Benedict, the *first* thing I see is a reincarnation of that Dionysian rock god Jim Morrison.
*That’s* what World Youth Day is. A week long bacchanal.
Oh, and it’s *also* a strictly regimented mass brainwashing session dedicated to building an army worthy of Mordor.
It’s both! It’s a floor cleaner *and* a dessert topping!

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posted August 20, 2005 at 9:27 pm

Back to the Christians of Iraq…
This is a truly forlorn community. An ancient church, a tiny minority, that has been targeted by the terrorists, having their parishes firebombed and their leaders killed.
You might think “democracy” would be their hope. Yet here’s what the Washington Post reported today:
Kurds Fault U.S. on Iraqi Charter
Ambassador, in Rush, Pushed Big Role for Islam, They Say
BAGHDAD, Aug. 20 — Kurdish politicians negotiating a draft constitution criticized the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Saturday for allegedly pushing them to accept too great a role for Islamic law in his drive to complete the charter on time.

Now, there may be more to the story; but two facts tend to give it the ring of truth:
1. The U.S. government has been bending over backwards, ever since 9/11, to tell everyone how positive it is toward Islam;
2. In all the accounts of negotiations and power-sharing, no mention of the Christians. They are invisible.
For anyone interested, there is a website: Who are the Christians of Iraq, attempting to bring the plight of Iraqi Christians to the world’s attention.
Good luck.

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posted August 20, 2005 at 9:29 pm

I didn’t do the code stuff properly, so you could click on the link for the Christians of Iraq:

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posted August 20, 2005 at 9:50 pm

Yes, Septimus. And I have yet to read anything by or hear anything from any Iraqi Christian who is not very grateful for what Bush and we Americans did for Iraq.
The situation is awful for them and it may get worse. It was still worse under Saddam.

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posted August 20, 2005 at 10:19 pm

I’m thinking the Pope’s message was supposed to read: “with joy and COMMUNION.” However, 800,000 eighteen to 30 year-olds praising Jesus is quite a joyful commotion at any rate.
I had a funny thought as I watched the Vigil with all the music and different talents on display. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if the Holy Father played the piano after Mass? I wonder if he’s any good (I always choked at recitals).

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posted August 20, 2005 at 11:52 pm

Thanks for the link, Septimus.
Whenever I read of modern-day persecuted Christians, whether they’re in Iraq or China or pre-1989 Poland, I think of how lucky – and spoiled-we are.
While I complain about Haugen hymns, these people are risking their lives for Christ. Mind you, I won’t stop complaining about Haugen – but this kinda puts things in perspective.

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posted August 21, 2005 at 1:21 am

This is for you. Key words: “and it’s getting worse now that Saddam Hussein has been deposed”
Weblog: Iraq’s Christian Exodus
Compiled by Ted Olsen | posted 11/05/2003
Iraq’s Christians facing persecution
According to The Daily Telegraph of London, about 700,000 Chaldean Christians and more than a million Assyrian Christians live in Iraq. Operation World suggests that those figures are highly inflated, and says there are only 358,281 Christians in the country total (about 22,000 are identified as evangelicals). David Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia splits the difference, counting 730,774 Christians (74,800 evangelicals) among the population of 22,946,245.
In any case, Christianity has been decreasing in the country (Operation World says by about 0.9% a year), and it’s getting worse now that Saddam Hussein has been deposed, says the Telegraph.
“We had a very good situation until the fundamentalists began to appear and we were affected,” Roger William told the British paper. “They changed the idea of Christians among the people, and from then on we have suffered. Because America and Britain are Christian countries, they blame us for the war. We are terrified. We really don’t know what the future will hold.”
Christians are also under fire because they’re the ones who generally run the restaurants and shops that sell alcohol. “I do not dare to reopen my shops,” David Younan Oro, William’s father-in-law, said. “Since the war the people here have to rely on tribes for protection of their businesses. We have no tribe.”
Local priest Charlemagne Shmool says at least one of his parishioners has been killed by local Muslims. “The fundamentalists have put pressure on us as never before,” he said. “Within 10 years there will be no Christians in this area. We will be finished.”

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posted August 21, 2005 at 3:00 am

Well, I think greater freedom, while giving the Muslim jihadists that much room, may leave room for Christians to initiate their own moves as well. Proselytizing was illegal under Saddam, I think, just as it is now in Turkey. But with greater latitude like this, Christians could have room to launch their own evangelizing initiatives. If only there were more resources on the ground.

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David Kubiak

posted August 21, 2005 at 4:26 am

“Commozione” is one of those words the French call “faux amis” of English. It means “emotion”. The phrase “con grande commozione” is stock in formal descriptions of affect.
“Morbido” is another one. You see advertisements all over Italy inviting women to have “morbid skin”. The adjective means “soft” in Italian.

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posted August 21, 2005 at 6:16 am

Read before you quote.
First, the statement you quoted was not by an Iraqi, but the assertion of the journalist.
Second, it does not say the general situation is worse for Christians, but rather that exodus of Christians is getting “worse,” i.e., more are leaving.
More were (this is 2003, mind) leaving in part because of the difficult situation, but in part also because they COULD. It was not allowed for most people to leave under Saddam and very few could do so. Many have left, but recently–according to the Catholic hierarchy in Iraq, mind–many are beginning to return.
And notice, please, that they are openly joining in World Youth Day.
Iraqi Christians–bloggers et al–are very grateful for Saddam’s deposition, despite the assertions of people like yourself and despite their many difficulties today.

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posted August 21, 2005 at 12:24 pm

I bow to David K.’s obvious command of languages. Thank you for the lesson… although, now I’m stuck on the thought of having morbid skin.

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posted August 21, 2005 at 3:37 pm

JEFF: Roger William IS a Christian in Iraq. yes, it does say the situation is worse and that it is harder to be a Christian in Iraq now. “We had a very good situation until the fundamentalists began to appear and we were affected,” Roger William told the British paper. “They changed the idea of Christians among the people, and from then on we have suffered. Because America and Britain are Christian countries, they blame us for the war. We are terrified. We really don’t know what the future will hold.”
Furthermore, under Saddam – whom I am not extolling – Christians were not under pressure to dress differently, as they are now.
A Christmas without celebrations or Christians
By Edmund Sanders
December 21, 2004
Nestled off a bustling shopping avenue in central Baghdad, Babylon Farms offers all the retail trappings of Christmas.
Baskets brim with glitter-dusted ornaments. A 1.2-metre Santa Claus doll towers over the cash register. Rows of decorated trees and plastic red poinsettias line the shop. The only thing missing? Customers.
“All the Christians have left the country,” said Saif Sadi, the manager of the store, where sales this season are down 75 per cent.
After a painful year of church bombings, death threats and assassinations, Iraq’s 800,000 Christians have all but cancelled Christmas. “Officially, we are not celebrating this year,” said Father Peter Haddad, head of the Virgin Mary Church in Baghdad.
Fearing insurgent attacks in this predominantly Muslim country, bishops around the country recently announced they would call off the usual Christmas festivals and celebrations. Some churches will also forgo Christmas Eve Mass, an unheard of step even during the Saddam Hussein regime.
Attendance has plummeted. More than 700 people once packed Father Haddad’s church during the holiday. Last Sunday 27 worshippers showed up.
Christians have lived in Iraq for hundreds of years, enjoying peaceful relations with Muslims for most of that time. But after the US-led invasion, insurgents began targeting the community, accusing Christians of co-operating with American “infidels” by working as translators, house cleaners and merchants. Harassment by Islamists became so bad that many Christian women took to wearing Muslim hijabs.
“We are the agents of no one, and we don’t accept being linked to the occupiers because of our religion,” Kirkuk’s Archbishop Luis Saco told parishioners as he announced the cancellation of Christmas celebrations.
Christian leaders estimate that as many as 50,000 Christians have fled the country since last year, mostly to Jordan and Syria.
Christians say the attacks – including the co-ordinated bombings of five churches last August and drive-by shootings of Christian liquor store owners – have spoiled what is typically the most joyous time of year for their community.”
This was also printed in the LA Times

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Ed the Roman

posted August 22, 2005 at 9:18 am

I, for one, would feel far less oppressed as my son was ground up to make a park bench and my daughter kidnapped and raped on her wedding day knowing that one of my co-religionists was Deputy Prime Minister.
This is not to minimize the suffering of Iraqi Christians. But while Saddam may have kept the danger that specifically came from militant Muslims in check, to some extent it’s because that danger was lost in the noise of the danger that he presented to the entire population.

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